This year’s British Superbike silly season has been short and sharp, with most top seats signed and sealed by the final round at Brands Hatch.
Before the season ended, we knew that the Be Wiser Ducati line-up of Shane Byrne and Glenn Irwin and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki line up of Luke Mossey and Leon Haslam would remain the same while it had also been confirmed that Jake Dixon and Christian Iddon would remain with their respective teams.
Earlier this week it was confirmed that Michael Laverty would join Iddon at the Tyco BMW squad.
While that does leave a number of seats open, if the rumour mill is to believed many of the remaining seats are already sewn up.
The big rumour for a few rounds has been that Josh Brookes, who narrowly missed out on a second British title by three points at the weekend, will join the McAMS Yamaha team for 2018. Anvil Hire Yamaha boss Rob Winfield confirmed to MCN at the weekend that Brookes won’t be with the team next year, so an announcement should be due at any time with Tarran Mackenzie hotly tipped to be joining the Aussie in the factory-supported squad.
Word is that James Ellison could be heading to replace Brookes in a straight swap, with news on this also expected in the next few weeks.
Despite much speculation about both Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran heading elsewhere for 2018, MCN understands Honda Racing will retain both riders as they look to recover from a tough first year with the all-new Fireblade.
Richard Cooper is expected to be promoted to the Bennetts Suzuki BSB team after finishing runner-up in the 2017 Superstock 1000 series, with hotshot youngster Bradley Ray said to be joining him. What will happen with Taylor Mackenzie remains to be seen, but with title sponsor Bennetts rumoured to be departing it’s unlikely the squad will continue to run three bikes.
That leaves just a handful of seats up for grabs, perhaps the most prolific being the Smiths BMW machines. As MCN reported back in August, Peter Hickman will remain with the squad next year although no announcement has yet been forthcoming. However, while it remains a possibility, Lee Jackson could lose the second seat with rumours pointing at double European Superstock champion Sylvain Barrier and Billy McConnell as possible replacements.
Quattro-Plant FS-3 Kawasaki were tipped to be taking on Superstock 1000 champion Danny Buchan next year, but after an impressive performance from Kyle Ryde at Brands Hatch last weekend that could have played on the minds of team bosses Nigel Snook and Darren Fry.
British Supersport Champion Keith Farmer is keen to step up to the Superbike class and had been in talks with Honda until both Linfoot and O’Halloran opted to stay.
O’Halloran had been linked to the WD-40 setup, from which Tommy Bridewell departed at the season’s close.
2018 British Superbike Grid
Italics = not confirmed
Be Wiser Ducati: Shane Byrne & Glenn Irwin
JG Speedfit Kawasaki: Leon Haslam & Luke Mossey
Tyco BMW: Christian Iddon & Michael Laverty
RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki: Jake Dixon
McAMS Yamaha: Josh Brookes? Tarran Mackenzie?
Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha: Shaun Winfield & James Ellison?
Honda Racing: Dan Linfoot? Jason O’Halloran? Keith Farmer?
Bennetts/Hawk Suzuki: Richard Cooper? Bradley Ray? Taylor Mackenzie?
Smiths BMW: Peter Hickman, Sylvain Barrier? Billy McConnell? Lee Jackson?
Quattro Plant FS3 Kawasaki: Danny Buchan? Kyle Ryde?
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